Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. It's great raw, sliced in salads or braised and then baked with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Fennel hints at a licorice flavor; odd that I love it because licorice is just about the only flavor I abhor. When you cook with fennel don't throw away the fronds. They add flavor, color and are a nice topping to your dish.
We still have a lot of fennel growing in our winter garden. Small, poor things, but perfect for a garden fresh, winter risotto dish.
300 grams rice*
200 grams fennel, sliced thinly, braised until tender crisp in broth and olive oil
100 grams fresh cream
50 grams parmesan cheese, grated
30 grams onion, (½ medium) finely chopped
20 grams butter
1 liter broth, hot
3 Tbsp. fennel fronds, finely chopped
½ Cup white wine
3 Tbsp.Olive oil
Saute the onion in olive oil until onion is tender. Add the rice and cook over high heat, stirring constantly. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Add broth by the ladleful and continue adding as the liquid is absorbed. After 15 minutes of cooking time add the fennel.
Continue adding broth by the ladleful until the rice is just barely al dente. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter, the fennel fronds, cream and salt to taste. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese. If desired, top the risotto with additional chopped fronds.
* Carnaroli or arborio is best for risotto